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Mentoring Connections Newsletter
February 2006

In this issue

New Year Greetings to all !

The year has started with a great deal of mentoring activity! We are currently assisting our clients with implementing graduate mentoring programs, a high potential mentoring program and general 'open to all staff' programs as well as continuing the roll out of long term, existing mentoring programs.

There is a special focus on graduates at the beginning of every year. They are not only new to the organisation, but are most often at the commencement of their work experience and career. These early experiences will shape their future.

Mentoring support during this vulnerable time delivers:

  • A welcome into the organisational team
  • One steady, trusted reference point through 2-3 years of job rotations
  • A fast track to understanding the workplace, expectations, how to navigate the organisation and make sound choices
  • Beginner leadership skills
  • Better performance, sooner

Studies of student criteria in choosing an employer who have a mentoring program right at the top. Provision of quality mentoring is also the reason that graduates stay, vastly reducing the commonly high turnover during the job rotations.

It looks like being another exciting year as mentoring continues to grow in Australia, now expanding fast from organisations to universities, schools and community programs.

The Growth Connection remains committed to supporting excellence in mentoring practice, offering over 15 years of national and international expertise.

If you would like any further information on points raised in this newsletter or about any other aspects of mentoring, please contact me.

Imogen Wareing
The Growth Connection Pty. Ltd.

Stop Press! New Clutterbuck release!

"Mentoring in Action - a practical guide"
The latest offering from the David Clutterbuck, David Megginson rich pool of mentoring resources is now available!

It is the Second Edition of "Mentoring in Action - a Practical Guide" and is packed with useful information about mentoring.

The current research and models are summarised and explored, including the mentoring vs. coaching debate and even present variables around the matching process.

There are 18 detailed organisational case studies and 9 individual case studies offered. They provide a range of methodologies, outcomes and the learning derived from them.

Included is the Australian case study, written by Imogen Wareing of the Growth Connection, of the very successful Weir Warman mentoring program, now partway through its 3rd program. Imogen is the consultant and trainer to Weir Warman on the design and implementation of key aspects of the mentoring program as it rolls out across the organisation nationally.

We recommend this book to any one involved with any type of formal mentoring program. Here is how you can purchase it!

Mentoring in Action, a Practical Guide (2nd edition)
by David Megginson, David Clutterbuck, Bob Garvey, Paul Stokes & Ruth Garrett-Harris
GBP 19.99 + shipping costs

New Year Sale! - Mentoring Resources

The Growth Connection stocks a select range of quality mentoring resources. The author, Dr. Linda Phillips-Jones is one of the foremost mentoring experts in the United States. Her accessible, thoroughly researched and well designed resources are a great addition to any mentoring program and her writing on the subject is always useful and practical.

Linda Phillips-Jones products are half price while stocks last! This is a great chance to snap up a bargain to get you started in mentoring, energise your current program, or refresh your mentoring training.

We have attached a list of current stock and an order form that can be faxed or emailed back as an attachment. Hurry, at this reduced price these products will sell fast!

Note: The Mentoring Program Coordinator's Guide, Mentor's Guide and Mentee's Guide are very popular resources and the updated versions are now available. These new editions are not in the Sales and retail at the full price shown.

Hot Topics

Mentoring in schools

Mentoring in schools has been established in the United States for many years, and is currently gaining popularity in Australia as an effective way to support the unique needs of different groups in schools. Mentoring for new teachers and those new to executive positions is becoming more formal and provides essential support and guidance. However, the mentoring we will discuss here is student mentoring, specifically NSW secondary students who have been identified as 'at risk' and requiring extra support as they make pivotal career and learning decisions.

In 2004, Jane Figgis produced a report for DEST titled "The Landscape of Support for Youth in Transition." It examined the ways in which students are assisted in their transition from school and dependence to relative independence in meaningful work. Jane nominated a list of successful criteria that was drawn up by the Australian Centre for Equity through Education (for the Prime Minister's Youth Pathways Action Plan Taskforce) which should be considered by those creating and coordinating youth mentoring programs. These criteria include:

  • Allow sufficient time for the mentoring relationship to develop and produce results
  • Develop clear objectives for the mentoring program
  • Carefully select, screen and match mentors and mentorees, having due regard for the issues relating to gender, race and ethnic balance, and vocational orientation
  • Ensure that the mentorees are willing participants and able to negotiate the specific objectives with their mentor
  • Accept that specific mentor-mentoree relationships can break down, and the related need to make provision for the same
  • Provide suitable training and support systems for the mentors
  • Recognise that the effectiveness of mentoring lies in the trust that forms the foundation for all other development.

The NSW Department of Education and Training supports a number of mentoring initiatives. One of these is the "Plan-It Youth" mentoring program, which is a tightly structured program that was operating effectively in approximately 39 schools in 2003. The program is twelve months in duration and mentors are trained by TAFE, and then meet weekly with their mentorees at school for about 1.5 hours over a three month period, with further support for an additional six months. The figures from 2002 (latest figures publicly available) show that 95% of participating students have either stayed at school, become employed or enrolled in vocational education and training (DET 2003 Annual Report.)

Other mentoring programs exist in individual schools, or with individual community groups. Many have a workplace component to allow students access to the world of work, and gain an understanding of how school relates to successful employment. The Catholic Education Office in Parramatta has one such program, the Lighthouse Project. Other groups, such as the University of Sydney Union have their own programs that link mentors (in this case, university students) with at risk students during the school day.

Mentoring is an effective tool to assist students who are in transition to feel supported and heard. These initiatives are finding success in their local areas and hopefully the economies of scale that some programs are reaching will mean that mentoring will eventually be available to all those who need it - especially our most disadvantaged students.

Figgis, J. (2004). "The Landscape of Support for Youth in Transition." DEST.
NSW Department of Education and Training 2003 Annual Report.
Lighthouse Project website: http://ceo-web.parra.catholic.edu.au/lighthouse/
University of Sydney Union Year 10 Mentoring Program Information Kit (2005)

Workplace Mentoring Success Factors

The success of mentoring programs in the workplace is far from guaranteed. Initial enthusiasm can falter, other priorities struggle for attention and many formal programs are poorly supported in the workplace. This is the first of a series of articles examining the success factors that are critical if mentoring programs are to deliver on their promises.

Executive support is not optional. It is the first success factor and it is critical that the executive believe in the aim of the program and support those that choose to become involved. This may take many forms - financial, executive presence at events, formal time allocation to partners, inclusion in strategic planning (such as leadership succession planning) to name a few. The existence of support is the first step but equally important is that this support is visible. Sharing this fact, boldly and often, across the organization is the key to leveraging this support where it counts.

Volunteer mentors will almost always be a better choice for a sustainable mentoring program than those who are told to become involved. This is, in part, due to the commitment mentors need to make to their mentoree: in time, in resources and of themselves. Effective mentoring is based on trust, and for mentors to model this in their partnerships they must feel comfortable and secure in their mentoring role, professionally and personally - not something that can be mandated but it can be assisted through training and support.

Time influences many areas of a mentoring program. Successful programs ensure:

1. The relationship will be supported for a significant duration, but not indefinitely. Twelve months is the most common length, especially for new hires or those new to executive positions; graduates in rotating programs need a different schedule that fits in with the overall program which might be 2 or 3 years. Programs that are targeting retention issues with industry minorities or in high-turnover workplaces may need longer - 18 months to ensure that the time is well invested and outcomes are achieved.

2. Mentoring is supported during working hours. Most mentoring partnerships end up meeting after hours and in breaks and for many this is successful. But for others, this is not possible and allowances must be made for this workplace program to happen in the workplace.

3. Mentors understand the time commitment involved. As Margaret Heffernan and Saj-Nicole Joni state (2005) "Be serious. Don't commit to a mentorship if you can't invest the necessary time. Block out regular meetings, set goals, and plan on spending at least one hour a month."

Reference: Heffernan, M. and Joni, S. (2005). "Of Proteges and Pitfalls" Fast Company, 8/2005.

Sites to Visit

The International Telementor Program (ITP) facilitates electronic mentoring relationships between professional adults and students worldwide, and is recognized as the leader in the field of academic based mentoring. Since 1995 over 15,000 students throughout nine countries have received support, encouragement, and professional guidance. ITP serves students in K-12 and home school environments as well as college and university settings, and the website has case studies; upcoming, current and completed projects; resources and ideas.

MENTOR believes that, with the help and guidance of an adult mentor, each child can discover how to unlock and achieve his or her potential. MENTOR is widely acknowledged as the United States' premier advocate and resource for the expansion of mentoring initiatives nationwide. As such, MENTOR works with a strong network of US Mentoring Partnerships to leverage resources and provide the support and tools that mentoring organizations need to effectively serve young people in their communities. The website has a wealth of resources, information and links for community mentoring projects.

The growth Connection website has past newsletters, discussion papers and case studies for you to download as well as links to other good quality mentoring and career sites. Do you have a favourite mentoring website? Let us know and we will review and include it in a future edition.

Upcoming Events Around the World

1. National mentoring month in the USA: January 2006:
January is National Mentoring Month. The White House, the U.S. Congress, leading media companies, and nonprofit groups in the States have joined together to help recruit mentors for young people. Visit http://www.whomentoredyou.org for more information.

2. 19th Annual IMA's (International Mentoring Association) Mentoring Conference: 15-18 March, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois, USA (Advance Notice)
The 2006 Chicago conference will focus on the theme "Mentoring Tools for Development of Individuals and Organisations"

3. National Conference of Business Mentoring: 14-15 March, 2006 in Orebro, Sweeden

4. Setting up a Mentoring System in an Organisation: 16 March, 2006 Holiday Inn Select, Alexandria, Virginia USA

5. Mentors Train-the-Trainer Program: 3-5 May, 2006, Chicago, Illinois

6. Setting Up a Mentoring System in an Organisation: 6 June, 2006, Chicago, Illinois

7. Mentoring: Building Employee Relationships: 11-12 September, 2006, Toronto, Ontario

8. EMCC Conference: November 2006, Cologne The annual conference brings together researchers, scheme coordinators and practitioners of mentoring and coaching from across Europe

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